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souls, when you meet him in heaven, to tell him, that hearing of his, was a means, under God, of your conversion! Doubtless it was written for the encouragement of all poor returning sinners; he himself tells us so: For “in me God showed all long-suffering that I might be an example to them that should hereafter believe." Were Saul here himself, he would tell you so, indeed he would; but being dead, by this account of his conversion, he yet speaketh. O that God may speak by it to your hearts ! O that the arrows of God might this day stick fast in your souls, and you made to cry out, "Who art thou, Lord ? Are there any such amongst you? Methinks I feel something of what this Saul felt, when he said, “I travail in birth again for you, till Christ be formed again in your hearts." O come, come away to Jesus on whom Saul believed ; and then I care not if the high priests issue out never so many writs, or injuriously drag me to a prison. The thoughts of being instrumental in saving you, will make me sing praises even at midnight. And I know you will be my joy and crown of rejoicing, when I am delivered from this earthly prison, and meet you in the kingdom of God hereafter.
CHRIST THE BELIEVER'S WISDOM, RIGHTEOUSNESS, SANCTI
FICATION, AND REDEMPTION.
1 Cor. i. 30.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us,
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
Of all the verses in the book of God, this which I have now read to you, is, I believe, one of the most comprehensive. What glad tidings does it bring to believers! What precious privileges are they here invested with! How are they here led to the fountain
of them all, I mean, the love, the everlasting love of God the Father! “Of him ye are in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
Without referring you to the context, I shall from these words,
First, Point out to you the fountain, from which all those blessings flow, which the elect of God partake of in Jesus Christ, “ who of God is made unto us." And,
Secondly, I shall consider what these blessings are, “ wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
Fürst, I would point out to you the fountain from which all those blessings flow, that the elect of God partake of in Jesus, “who of God is made unto us :" the Father, he it is who is spoken of here. Not as though Jesus Christ was not God also; but God the Father is the fountain of the Deity; and, if we consider Jesus Christ acting as Mediator, God the Father is greater than he ; there was an eternal contract between the Father and the Son: “I have made a covenant with my chosen, and I have sworn unto David my servant;" now David was a type of Christ, with whom the Father made a covenant, that if he would obey and suffer, and make himself a sacrifice for sin, he should see his seed, he should prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hands." This compact our Lord refers to, in that glorious prayer recorded in the 17th chap. of John ; and therefore he prays for, or rather demands with a full assurance, all that were given to him by the Father : "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” For this same reason the apostle breaks out into praises of God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ; for he loved the elect with an everlasting love, or, as our Lord expresses it, “before the foundation of the world;" and therefore, to show them to whom they were beholden for their salvation, our Lord, in the 25th of Matthew, represents himself, saying, “Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And thus, in reply to the mother of Zebedee's children, he says, “ It is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of the Father.” The apostle therefore, when here speaking of the Christian's privileges, lest they should sacrifice to their own worth, or think their salvation was owing to their own faithfulness, or improvement of their own free will, reminds them to look back on the everlasting love of God the Father; who of God is made unto us, &c.
Would to God, this point of doctrine was considered more, and people were more studious of the covenant of redemption between the Father and the Son ! we should not then have so much disputing against the doctrine of election, or hear it condemned (even by good men) as a doctrine of devils. For my own part, I cannot see how true humbleness of mind can be attained without a knowledge of it; and though I will not say, that every one who denies election is a bad man, yet I will say, with that sweet singer, Mr. Trail, it is a very bad sign : such an one, whoever he be, I think cannot truly know himself : for, if we deny election, we must, partly at least, glory
in ourselves; but our redemption is so ordered, that no flesh should glory in the divine presence; and hence it is, that the pride of man opposes this doctrine, because according to this doctrine, and no other," he that glories must glory only in the Lord.” But what shall I say? Election is a mystery that shines with such resplendent brightness, that, to make use of the words of one who has drank deeply of electing love, it dazzles the weak eyes of some of God's dear children ; however, though they know it not, all the blessings they receive, all the privileges they do or will enjoy, through Jesus Christ, flow from the everlasting love of God the Father : “But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
Secondly, I come to show what these blessings are, which are here, through Christ, made over to the elect. And,
First, Christ is made to them wisdom; but wherein does true wisdom consist ? Was I to ask some of you, perhaps you would say, in indulging the lusts of the flesh, and saying to your souls, eat, drink, and be merry; but this is only the wisdom of brutes ; they have as good a gust and relish for sensual pleasures, as the greatest epicure on earth. Others would tell me true wisdom consisted in adding house to house, and field to field, and calling lands after their own names; but this cannot be true wisdom ; for riches often take to them wings and fly away, like an eagle towards heaven. Even wisdom itself assures us, “ that a man's life doth not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses ;" vanity, vanity, all these things are vanity; for, if riches leave not the owner, the owner must soon leave them ; "for rich men must also die, and leave their riches for others;" their riches cannot procure them redemption from the grave, whither we are all hastening apace.
But perhaps you despise riches and pleasure, and therefore place wisdom in the knowledge of books : but it is possible for you to tell the numbers of the stars, and call them all by their names, and yet be mere fools; learned men are not always wise; nay, our common learning so much cried up, makes men only so many accomplished fools ; to keep you therefore no longer in suspense, and withal to humble you, I will send you to a heathen school, to learn what true wisdom is : know thyself, was a saying of one of the wise men of Greece ; this is certainly true wisdom, and this is that wisdom spoken of in the text, and which Jesus Christ has made to all elect sinners; they are made to know themselves, so as not to think more highly of themselves, than they ought to think. Before they were darkness; now they are light in the Lord ; and in that light they see their own darkness; they now bewail themselves
as fallen creatures by nature, dead in trespasses and sins, sons and heirs of hell, and children of wrath ; they now see that all their righteousnesses are but as filthy rags; that there is no health in their souls; that they are poor and miserable, blind and naked ; and that there is no name given under heaven, whereby they can be saved, but that of Jesus Christ. They see the necessity of closing with a Savior, and behold the wisdom of God in appointing him to be a Savior ; they are also made willing to accept of salvation upon our Lord's own terms, and to receive him as their all in all: thus Christ is made to them wisdom.
Secondly, Righteousness. “Who of God is made unto us, wisdom, righteousness;" Christ's whole personal righteousness is made over to, and accounted theirs. Being enabled to lay hold on Christ by faith, God the father blots out their transgressions, as with a thick cloud ; their sins, and their iniquities he remembers no more; they are made the righteousness of God in Jesus, who is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. In one sense, God now sees no sin in them; the whole covenant of works is fulfilled in them; they are actually justified, acquitted, and looked upon as righteous in the sight of God; they are perfectly accepted in the Beloved; they are complete in him; the flaming sword of God's wrath, which before moved every way, is now removed, and free access given to the tree of life; they are enabled now to reach out the arm of faith, and pluck and live for evermore. Hence it is that the apostle, under a sense of this blessed privilege, breaks out into this triumphant language ; " it is Christ that justifies, who is he that condemns ?" Does sin condemn ? Christ's righteousness delivers believers from the guilt of it: Christ is their Savior, and is become a propitiation for their sins: who therefore shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? Does the law condemn ? By having Christ's righteousness imputed to them, they are dead to the law, as a covenant of works; Christ has fulfilled it for them, and in their stead. Does death threaten them? They need not fear. The sting of death is sin, the strength of sin is the law; but God has given them the victory, by imputing to them the righteousness of the Lord Jesus.
And what a privilege is here! Well might the angels at the birth of Christ, say to the humble shepherds, “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy;" unto you that believe in Christ, ka Savior is born." And well may they rejoice at the conversion of poor sinners : for the Lord is their righteousness : they have peace with God, through faith in Christ's blood, and shall never enter into condemnation. O believers ! (for this
discourse is intended in a special manner for you) lift up your heads; “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.” Christ is made to you of God, righteousness, what then should you fear ? you are made the righteousness of God in him; you may be called, “ The Lord our righteousness.” Of what then should you be afraid ? What shall separate you henceforward from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ?' No: I am persuaded, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor heighth, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, who of God is made unto you righteousness.
This is a glorious privilege, but this is only the beginning of the happiness of believers : for,
Thirdly, Christ is not only made to them righteousness, but sanctification. By sanctification, I do not mean a bare hypocritical attendance on outward ordinances, (though rightly informed christians will think it their duty and privilege constantly to attend on all outward ordinances.) Nor do I mean by sanctification, a bare outward reformation, and a few transient convictions, or a little legal sorrow; for all this an unsanctified man may have; but, by sanctification, I mean a total renovation of the whole man; by the righteousness of Christ, believers become legally, by sanctification they are made spiritually, alive; by one they are entitled to, by the other they are made meet for glory. They are sanctified therefore throughout, in spirit, soul and body.
Their understandings, which were before dark, now become light in the Lord : and their wills, before contrary to, now become one with the will of God: their affections are now set on things above; their memory is now filled with divine things; their natural consciences are now enlightened; their members, which were before instruments of uncleanness, and of iniquity unto iniquity, are now instruments of righteousness and true holiness ; in short, they are new creatures; "old things are passed away, all things are become new,” in their hearts; sin has now no longer dominion over them; they are freed from the power, though not the indwelling and being of it; they are holy both in heart and life, in all manner of conversation; they are made partakers of a divine nature; and from Jesus Christ
, they receive grace grace; and every grace that is in Christ, is copied and transcribed into their souls; they are transformed into his likeness; he is formed within them; they dwell in him, and he in them; they are led by the Spirit
, and bring forth the fruits thereof; they know